Not that long ago, SSDs in general and Intel SSDs in particular cost a pretty penny. Things are changing though, especially now that Intel has released the Intel SSD 330, a very affordable SSD, with a price well below £1 per GB.
Looking for an upgrade to a system that's starting to get a bit sluggish? Then an SSD might just be the ticket for you. These drives significantly improve loading times of Windows as well as applications and have extremely high read and write speeds (i.e. how many megabytes per second the drive can read or write). In short, an SSD like the Intel SSD 330 really can make a difference.
The problem with SSDs was that they used to be ridiculously expensive, especially considering the limited storage they provided. Paying hundreds of pounds for a measly 256 gigabytes of storage does not sound very appealing when you can buy one or more terabytes of HDD storage for just a fraction of that amount.
According to the boffins at Hardware.Info, we are witnessing what could be called a race to the bottom when it comes to SSDs. That is, drives like the Intel SSD 330 keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Manufacturers have to try and beat each other at something now that the performance of SSDs has more or less evened out. In other words, they have to find another unique selling point. In the case of SSDs, it looks like the USP is going to be prices, which have dropped below the all-important £1 per GB threshold some time ago, and continue to go down.
OCZ was the first to break that barrier with the Petrol. However, the drawback of that SSD was that it didn't perform very well. With the release of the Intel SSD 330, Intel also joins the race, and does so with a very decent SSD indeed, according to the guys at Hardware.Info. The controller in the SSD 330, which comes in iterations of 60, 120, and 180 GB, is the same as the one you can find in the much more expensive SSD 520 series.
Intel did cut costs though on the flash chips it used in the Intel SSD 330, which have a shorter life span than those in the SSD520 series, and are therefore cheaper. These cheaper chips don't seem to affect performance, though. The SSD 330 is just as fast as much more expensive SSDs in benchmarks that emulate real-life situations, which is quite an achievement. See all: PC upgrade advice, news and reviews.
Obviously, Intel isn't the only one producing very interesting SSDs at a relatively friendly price. As we mentioned earlier, OCZ basically set the trend. Crucial's m4 are available at similar prices, and are even a little bit faster, so may be the better choice. However, Intel throws in migration software as well, which is handy when you want data from the drive you're replacing on the SSD. This more or less compensates for the slightly poorer performance.
Hardware.Info thinks that the Intel SSD 330 is worth considering. If you want to check it out for yourself, follow this link to read the complete ten-page review at Hardware.Info.